Buckeyes among threats to SEC's title reign


With a soft non-conference schedule and proven coach in Urban Meyer, Ohio State is among the teams that could end the SEC's run of seven straight national championships. (Photo by The Associated Press)

Published: Monday, July 29, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 11:30 p.m.

So if I told your right now that Alabama will beat Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game and that Johnny Manziel will win the Heisman Trophy again and that Clemson will win the ACC and Oklahoma State will win the Big 12 and at least one fan will be ejected from Florida's home opener and at least one fan will complain about the Florida-Miami game that will be played at noon and no double-digit underdog will win a game this season, well, you'd probably do your best Homer Simpson impersonation.

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With a soft non-conference schedule and proven coach in Urban Meyer, Ohio State is among the teams that could end the SEC's run of seven straight national championships. (Photo by The Associated Press)

BOOORR-RRRRINNG.

We know that one of the things that makes college football so great is the unexpected.

We watch college football the same way we watch golf's U.S. Open. It's not just the thrill of victory that makes it exciting, it's the agony of defeat.

One week, a team is the toast of ESPN and on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and the next its talking about the Capital One Bowl. One week a player is on a pace to break a long-standing record, and the next he's breaking chairs in the locker room.

So here are some spoiler alerts for this college football season, five things that could shake up the world of college football in 2013.

Five teams that could spoil the SEC's streak of seven straight national titles:

1. Ohio State: The Buckeyes have a non-conference schedule that's softer than squashed bananas, and we all know that Urban Meyer is a pretty good big-game coach.

2. Louisville: Speaking of incredibly soft schedules, the Cardinals don't play anybody in the top 25, and we saw what they did in the Sugar Bowl last year.

3. Oregon: It's not like the Ducks brought in a coach from nowhere, and the talent is there to make a run.

4. Stanford: The Cardinal might be the one team that can go toe-to-toe physically with any team in the SEC.

5. Florida State: Sure, the Seminoles always seem to have that one game where they blow it, but if they don't, watch out.

Five quarterbacks who could steal the Heisman Trophy away from Manziel:

1. Marcus Mariota: The Oregon quarterback is in his second year and has enough weapons around him to put up gaudy stats.

2. AJ McCarron: If he is in position to win a third straight national title at Alabama, his numbers won't matter.

3. Braxton Miller: He can run and throw, and Meyer knows how to get the most out of that type of quarterback.

4. Blake Bell: The Belldozer was a specialty guy last year and now takes over the Oklahoma offense. Heard that story before?

5. Teddy Bridgewater: Perhaps the most accurate quarterback in college football, he'll have a chance if he can stay healthy at Louisville.

Five players who could end the run of 11 of last 12 Heisman winners being quarterbacks:

1. Jadeveon Clowney: It's always a longshot with a defensive player, but there's a lot of preseason buzz about the South Carolina defensive end having a chance.

2. Todd Gurley: It will be tough to put up Heisman numbers because Georgia has so many ways to come at you, but he's America's best running back.

3. Marqise Lee: Two things would have to happen — Southern Cal will have to be really good and the wide receiver will have to get some return touchdowns.

4. Lache Seastrunk: The Baylor running back should put up great stats in the defensively challenged Big 12.

5. Ameer Abdullah: The Nebraska running back averaged five yards a carry a year ago and also was effective as a pass catcher.

Five teams from non-AQ schools who could spoil one of the BCS bowl games like Northern Illinois did a year ago:

1. Northern Illinois: Well, of course, any team that returns Jordan Lynch is going to have a chance to shake things up again.

2. Tulsa: Some holes to fill but this is still a team that could run the table.

3. Fresno State: Derek Carr, David's brother, is a stud at quarterback and the defense will be tough to crack.

4. Boise State: Schedule is front-loaded with Washington, Fresno State and Southern Miss in September, but if it gets through that, you'll be hearing about Boise.

5. Utah State: One of the nation's best defenses a year ago gets a crack at Southern Cal in Week 4.

Five games in November that could spoil a dream matchup in the BCS title game:

1. Alabama at Mississippi State, Nov. 16: The week after the Tide play LSU, they go to Starkville. Can you say trap game?

2. Ohio State at Michigan, Nov. 30: There's a chance these two could both be unbeaten, but it's more likely Michigan will try to play spoiler.

3. Stanford at USC, Nov. 16: If coach Lane Kiffin can't win it, he'd love to knock off a team headed for Pasadena. And this is the week after the Stanford-Oregon game.

4. Oregon at Arizona, Nov. 23: Weird things happen on the desert late in the season.

5. Georgia at Auburn, Nov. 16: If the Dogs navigate their September schedule and get to this point unbeaten and Auburn is better under coach Gus Malzahn, it will be electric.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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